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Schwarzenegger: Climate change is 'the issue of our time'

"We all breathe the same air," the former California governor and Hollywood action star said to a security conference in Munich last weekend.
Arnold Schwarzenegger seen at an event on Jan. 16, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Showtime/AP)
Arnold Schwarzenegger seen at an event on Jan. 16, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Republican governor of California and Austrian-born American actor, called climate change "the issue of our time" at a security conference Sunday in which he called on governments to act independently to combat global warming.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, the Hollywood star drew on his experience leading the Golden State to argue that adopting green energy creates jobs and increases energy independence. He introduced a new policy paper to the group, titled, "The Future of Energy," The Associated Press reported.

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Schwarzenegger cheered international efforts to reduce carbon emissions, but said there is no need for individual governments to wait on summits and treaty agreements. Such formal gatherings include the United Nations’ 2014 Climate Summit, which convened last September in New York City. There, President Barack Obama made public a new executive order and other government initiatives intended to combat the threat of climate change. The most significant policy was an order requiring that federal agencies acknowledge environmental sustainability when they design new international development programs.

In November, Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a climate deal to reduce carbon emissions and tackle the growing crisis of global climate change. The pact includes a first-ever commitment by the Asian country to stop its emissions from increasing entirely after 2030.

In his speech Sunday, former Gov. Schwarzenegger said that addressing shared environmental threats should not be a political issue. “We should be fighting climate change right now," he said. "We all breathe the same air."

Although the damaging impact of climate change is predicted to worsen in the coming century, its extreme effects are already being felt on every continent and across the world's oceans, according to a U.N. assessment released last year. The average combined land and ocean temperatures last October were the highest on record, and the global threat will increase if leaders don’t rein in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A major U.N. conference on climate change is scheduled to be held this year in Paris.